Close win: Democrat has subpoena for Kentucky House Speaker

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky Democrat facing a recount following his one-vote victory in a state House race sought to subpoena the state’s incoming Republican speaker on Friday.

Democrat Jim Glenn defeated Republican state Rep. DJ Johnson by one vote in House district 13. The Kentucky State Board of Elections certified those results. But Johnson has asked the state House of Representatives, where Republicans control 61 out of 100 seats, to conduct a recount.

Johnson and his attorneys say the unusual process is a result of a state law that prevents state legislative candidates from asking a judge to oversee a recount, instead handing the decision to the legislature itself in what could be a political process. State law requires the legislature to appoint a board of between five and nine lawmakers to oversee the challenge, but the final decision must be voted on by the full House of Representatives.

Glenn’s attorney Anna Whites filed a subpoena with the House Clerk seeking to have Osborne sit for a deposition next Wednesday. Her request reveals how acrimonious the process could be.


Johnson’s attorney is Eric Lycan, who is also the lawyer for the House Republican Caucus. In her filing, Whites said she wants to know if Osborne knew about Johnson’s election challenge in advance and if taxpayers are paying for it, among other questions.

Whites said she has authority to subpoena Osborne as part of the election challenge. She said she filed the subpoena with the House Clerk but has not delivered it to Osborne yet. She said a woman in Osborne’s legislative office refused to accept it, adding she may send a private investigator to find Osborne and deliver it.

Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Osborne told The Associated Press he has heard about the subpoena but hasn’t been served.

“I can’t imagine under what authority he would have to issue a subpoena. I don’t believe it is even a valid legal document,” he said, adding, “they may want to turn this into a media circus, but we will comply with the law.”

Glenn is a former five-term lawmaker who was defeated by Johnson in 2016, a year when Republicans won a majority in the last legislative chamber still controlled by Democrats. Republicans again dominated on election night this year in Kentucky, but Glenn was one of the party’s few bright spots by winning his old seat in an incredibly close race.

The legislature would not begin the recount until Jan. 8, the first day of the 2019 legislative session. State law requires the House to appoint a board of between five and nine members. The board would issue a report, but the full House of Representatives would have to vote to accept that report.

Osborne said last week he would not commit to seating Glenn while the recount is pending.

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